Gallen quits Sharks captaincy - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gallen quits Sharks captaincy

By Steve Jancetic 01/06/2009 08:01:31 PM Comments (0)

Test lock Paul Gallen has quit the Cronulla captaincy just hours after admitting his guilt and apologising for racially abusing St George Illawarra forward Mickey Paea.

Gallen handed in his resignation in a bid to save the embattled club from further turmoil, the rugged backrower apologising for his abuse of Paea and accepting the $10,000 fine imposed by the NRL following a Monday morning meeting with league boss David Gallop.

His position as club captain was set to be the first item on the agenda for the new Sharks board's first meeting on Tuesday night, Gallen saving them the tough decision by quitting the post.

"The board accepts Paul's decision," Sharks chairman Barry Pierce said in a statement.

"It's been a tough period for him but Paul has handled it in a professional manner today following his meeting with the NRL.

"Paul will remain a very important part of our club and I've got no doubt we will continue to see 100 per cent effort from him each and every week."

Despite his decision to resign, Gallen said during an interview with the Nine Network that he would remain the club's leader after his teammates backed him to keep the job in the lead-up to Saturday night's morale-boosting win over Parramatta, which snapped a nine-game losing streak.

"I think whether I have the `c' next to my name or not, I am the Sharks captain and I am the leader of the club," Gallen said.

"You only have to ask the players that."

There was no indication from the club who would take over the captaincy, though a lack of viable options could see former Dragons skipper Trent Barrett handed the reins.

Earlier, Gallen said his initial desire to contest the fine - imposed under the code of conduct for allegedly calling Paea a "black c..." during a match nine days ago - was because he didn't want to be labelled a racist.

"Being labelled a racist is I think disgusting and that's something that I'm definitely not and that's the one thing that I want to clear the air about," Gallen said.

"Comments were made in the heat of the moment and I'm sorry for the pain that it has caused Mickey Paea, his family and my family.

"I'm not a racist but anyone who knows me knows that.

"I have many friends from various racial backgrounds and a brother-in-law from Papua New Guinea, needless to say this has affected my family deeply.

"I need to work on my temperament at times and this is something that rams that home.

"I've already talked with (Cronulla coach) Ricky Stuart about doing that and I want to show that I'm serious about making some changes.

"All I can concentrate on now is proving to people that I can win back their support and that I can help the Sharks.

"The NRL has agreed to allow me to donate the money to charity."

Gallop said he supported Gallen's honesty in dealing with the issue.

"Anyone I've spoken to will tell you that Paul is not a racist but that can't excuse what was said," said Gallop.

"Despite a number of people including Paul's own player association trying to cloud the issue with an ill informed attack on our process Paul has today had the courage to stand up and show true leadership by facing up to a mistake."

Meanwhile Gallen has slammed the ABC's Four Corners report that exposed the group sex scandal on the club's 2002 pre-season trip to Christchurch.

Gallen's former Sharks teammate Matthew Johns has been stood down from his television and coaching commitments as a result of his involvement in the incident.

"I think the way that incident was portrayed was totally biased and I think the treatment of Matthew Johns was disgraceful," Gallen said.

"That program that was run was totally biased ... the lady in question wasn't even cross-examined and it's basically destroyed a good man's life."

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